Scouting For Boys
A Handbook for Instruction in Good
Citizenship Through Woodcraft
LORD BADEN-POWELL OF GILWELL
Founder of the Boy Scout Movement
“The Dump” at Scoutscan.com
The reader is reminded that these texts have been written a long time ago. Consequently, they
may use some terms or use expressions which were current at the time, regardless of what we
may think of them at the beginning of the 21st
century. For reasons of historical accuracy they
have been preserved in their original form.
If you find them offensive, we ask you to please delete this file from your system.
This and other traditional Scouting texts may be downloaded from the Dump.
Introduction and Explanation of Scouting
Campfire Yarn No
. 1 – Scouts’ Work
Campfire Yarn No
. 2 – What Scouts Do
Campfire Yarn No
. 3 – Becoming a Scout
Campfire Yarn No
. 4 – Scout Patrols
Campfire Yarn No
. 5 – Scout Patrols
Campfire Yarn No
. 6 – Sea and Air Scouting
Campfire Yarn No
. 7 – Signals and Commands
Campfire Yarn No
. 8 – Pioneering
Campfire Yarn No
. 9 – Camping
Campfire Yarn No
. 10 – Camp Cooking
Campfire Yarn No
. 11 – Observation of “Sign”
Campfire Yarn No
. 12 – Spooring
Campfire Yarn No
. 13 – Reading “Sign” or Observation
Campfire Yarn No
. 14 – Stalking
Campfire Yarn No
. 15 – Animals
Campfire Yarn No
. 16 – Plants
Campfire Yarn No
. 17 – Endurance
Campfire Yarn No
. 18 – Health–Giving Habits
Campfire Yarn No
. 19 – Prevention of Disease
Campfire Yarn No
. 20 – Chivalry to Others
Campfire Yarn No
. 21 – Self–Discipline
Campfire Yarn No
. 22 – Self–Improvement
Campfire Yarn No
. 23 – Be Prepared For Accidents
Campfire Yarn No
. 24 – Accidents
Campfire Yarn No
. 25 – Helping Others
Campfire Yarn No
. 26 – Citizenship
Campfire Yarn No
. 27 – Our Commonwealth and Empire
Campfire Yarn No
. 28 – Our World-Wide Brotherhood
Scouting has been described by more than one enthusiast as a revolution in education. It is not
It is merely a suggestion thrown out at a venture for a jolly outdoor recreation, which has been
found to form also a practical aid to education.
It may be taken to be complementary to school training, and capable of filling up certain chinks
unavoidable in the ordinary school curriculum. It is, in a word, a school of citizenship through
The subjects of instruction with which it fills the chinks are individual efficiency through
development of — Character, Health, and Handicraft in the individual, and in Citizenship
through this employment of this efficiency in Service.
These are applied in three grades of progressive training for Wolf Cubs, Scouts, and Rovers.
Their development, as this book will show you, is mainly got through camping and backwoods
activities, which are enjoyed as much by the instructor as by the boy; indeed, the instructors
may aptly be termed leaders or elder brothers since they join in the fun, and the boys do the
This is perhaps why Scouting is called a revolution in education.
The fact is true, however, that it aims for a different point than is possible in the average school
training. It aims to teach the boys how to live, not merely how to make a living. There lies a
certain danger in inculcating in the individual the ambition to win prizes and scholarships, and
holding up to him as success the securing of pay, position, and power, unless there is a
corresponding instruction in service for others.
With this inculcation of self-interest into all grades of society it is scarcely surprising that we
have as a result a country divided against itself, with self-seeking individuals in unscrupulous
rivalry with one another for supremacy, and similarly with cliques and political parties,
religious sects and social classes, all to the detriment of national interests and unity.
Therefore the aim of the Scout training is to replace Self with Service, to make the lads
individually efficient, morally and physically, with the object of using that efficiency for the
service of the community.
I don’t mean by this the mere soldiering and sailoring services; we have no military aim or
practice in our movement; but I mean the ideals of service for their fellow-men. In other words,
we aim for the practice of Christianity in their everyday life and dealings, and not merely the
profession of its theology on Sundays.
The remarkable growth of the Scout movement has surprised its promoters as much as its outside
sympathisers. Starting from one little camp in 1907, of which this book was the outcome, the
Movement has grown and expanded automatically.
This points to two things: first, the attraction that Scouting has for the boys; secondly, the
volume of that innate patriotism which underlies the surface among the men and women of our
nation in spite of the misdirection of their education towards Self. Thousands of these form a
force of voluntary workers, from every grade of society, giving their time and energies for no
reward other than the satisfaction of helping the boys to become good citizens.
The teaching is by example, and the boys are quick to learn service where they have before them
this practical exposition of it on the part of their Scoutmasters. The effects of this training where
it has been in competent hands have exceeded all expectation in making happy, healthy, helpful
The aim of these leaders has been to help not merely the promising boys, but also, and more
especially, the duller boy. We want to give him some of the joy of life and at the same time some
of the attributes and some of the opportunities that his better-off brother gets, so that at least he
shall have his fair chance in life.
All countries have been quick to recognise the uses of Scouting, and have in their turn adopted
and developed the training exactly on the lines given in this book.
As a consequence there is now a widespread brotherhood of Boy Scouts about the world
numbering at present some 6,000,000 (1954) members, all working for the same ideal under the
same promise and Law, all regarding each other as brothers, and getting to know each other
through interchange of correspondence and personal visits on a considerable scale.
It needs no great imagination to foresee vast international possibilities as the outcome of this
fast-growing brotherhood in the near future. This growing spirit of personal friendship and
wide-minded goodwill among the future citizens of the nations behind it may not only give it that
soul, but may prove a still stronger insurance against the danger of international war in the
future. This may seem but a wild dream, but so would it have been a wild dream had anyone
imagined forty years ago that this little book was going to result in a Brotherhood of over six
million Boy Scouts to-day and a corresponding sisterhood of some three and a quarter million
Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
But such is the case.
And such vision is not beyond the range of possibility, if men and women come in to take their
share in the promotion of the work.
The co-operation of tiny sea insects has brought about the formation of coral islands. No
enterprise is too big where there is goodwill and co-operation in carrying it out. Every day we
are turning away boys anxious to join the Movement, because we have not the men or women to
take them in hand. There is a vast reserve of loyal patriotism and Christian spirit lying dormant
in our nation to-day, mainly because it sees no direct opportunity for expressing itself. Here in
this joyous brotherhood there is vast opportunity open to all in a happy work that shows results
under your hands and a work that is worth while because it gives every man his chance of
service for his fellow-men and for God.
Old Socrates spoke truly when he said, “No man goeth about a more godly purpose than he who
is mindful of the right upbringing not only of his own, but of other men’s children.”
N.B.:The statistics on membership have been brought up-to-date (1954) and are three times as
large as when B-P. last revised this preface.
EXPLANATION OF SCOUTING
N.B.—Sentences in italics throughout the book are addressed to Scoutmasters (instructors).
By the term “scouting” is meant the work and attributes of backwoodsmen, explorers, and
In giving the elements of these to boys we supply a system of games and practices which meets
their desires and instincts, and is at the same time educative.
From the boys’ point of view Scouting puts them into fraternity-gangs which is their natural
organization, whether for games, mischief, or loafing; it gives them a smart dress and
equipment; it appeals to their imagination and romance; and it engages them in an active, open-
From the parents’ point of view it gives physical health and developnzent; it teaches energy,
resourcefulness, and handicrafts; it puts into the lad discipline, pluck, chivalry, amid patriotism;
in a word, it develops “character”, which is more essential than anything else to a lad for taking
his way of life.
The principle on which Scouting works is that the boy’s ideas are studied, and he is encouraged
to educate himself instead of being instructed.
The principle is in accord with that of the most up-to-date educationalists. The training is
progressive and adapted to the changing psychology of the growing boy.
The Wolf Cubs, encouraged to develop themselves as individuals, mentally and physically.
The Boy Scouts, developing character and sense of service.
The Rover Scouts, for practice of the Scout Ideals of Service in their citizenship.
From the national point of view our aim is solely to make the rising generation into good
We do not interfere with the boy’s religion, of whatever form it may be, though we encourage
him to practise whichever he professes.
Our training divides itself under four heads:—
1. Individual character training in resourcefulness, observation, self-reliance to gain the
2. Handicrafts or hobbies which may help a boy to make his way in life, for which we give
3. Physical Health, by encouraging the boy to take plenty of exercise and to look after his
4. Service for the State, such as fire brigade, ambulance, missioner, life-saving, or other
collective public duty by the troop.
Scouting appeals to boys of every class, and can be carried out in towns just as well as in the
When a Scoutmaster has not sufficient knowledge in any one subject he can generally get a
friend who is an expert to come and give his troop the required instructions.
Funds must be earned by the Scouts themselves, by their work, not by begging. Various ways of
making money are given in this book.
A Wolf Cub Pack, Scout Troop, and Rover Crew form what is called a Group under a Group
Committee which co-ordinates the work of all branches.
Wolf Cubs.—The training of the Wolf Cubs is founded on the romance of the jungle, and is kept
as dissimilar as possible from that of the Scouts in order that, on the one hand, the Scouts shall
not feel that they are playing a “kid’s game”, while the Cubs, on their part, will look forward to
the new atmosphere and novel activities they will come in for when they attain the age and
qualifications for “going up” into the Scout Troop.
The details of the organization and training of Wolf Cubs will be found in “The Wolf Cub’s
Handbook” and “Tenderpad to Second Star”
Rover Scouts.—Rover Scouts are Scouts over 17 and in exceptional cases younger. They are
organized in Rover Crews in their Group.
The object of their institution is to complete the sequence of the Wolf Cub, Scout, and Rover.
The training of the Cubs and Scouts is largely a preparation for rendering Service which is
consummated in practice by the Rover. Such Service in many cases takes the form of helping in
the administration and training of the group. Thus the progressive cycle becomes complete from
Cub to Scoutmaster. In this way the Scoutmaster, while retaining the young man under good
influence at the critical time of his life, gains valuable help for himself in his work, and, in such
cases as are fit for it he turns out further recruits for the ranks of the Scoutmasters, while for the
nation he supplies young men trained and qualified for making good useful citizens.
The details of organization and training of Rovers are to be found in the Headquarters hand-
booklet, “Plan for Rover Scouts”, while the spirit and moral ideas are given in “Rovering to
Girl Guides.—The Girl Guides’ Association is a sister organization for girls on precisely similar
lines and principles, though differing of course in detail.
The Scout programme is applicable to other existing boy organization and has had particularly
good results in schools for Deaf Mutes, the Blind, the Handicapped, Boys’ Training Schools and
I Was A Boy Once.
The best time I had as a boy was when I went as a sea scout with my four brothers about on the
sea round the coasts of England. Not that we were real Sea Scouts, because Sea Scouts weren’t
invented in those days. But we had a sailing boat of our own on which we lived and cruised
about, at all seasons and in all weathers, and we had a jolly good time—taking the rough with the
Then in my spare time as a schoolboy I did a good lot of scouting in the woods in the way of
catching rabbits and cooking them, observing birds and tracking animals, and so on. Later on,
when I got into the Army, I had endless fun big-game hunting in the jungles in India and Africa
and living among the backwoodsmen in Canada. Then I got real scouting in South African
Well, I enjoyed all this kind of life so much that I thought, “Why should not boys at home get
some taste of it too?” I knew that every true red-blooded boy is keen for adventure and open-air
life, and so I wrote this book to show you how it could be done.
And you fellows have taken up so readily that now there are not only hundreds of thousands of
Boy Scouts but over six millions about the world!
Of course, a chap can’t expect to become a thorough backwoodsman all at once without learning
some of the difficult arts and practices that the backwoodsman uses. If you study this book you
will find tips in it showing you how to do them— and in this way you can learn for yourself
instead of having a teacher to show you how.
Then, you will find that the object of becoming an able and efficient Boy Scout is not merely to
give you fun and adventure but that, like the backwoodsmen, explorers, and frontiersmen whom
you are following, you will be fitting yourself to help your country and to be of service to other
people who may be in need of help. That is what the best men are out to do.
A true Scout is looked up to by other boys and by grownups as a fellow who can be trusted, a
fellow who will not fail to do his duty however risky and dangerous it may be, a fellow who is
jolly and cheery no matter how great the difficulty before him.
I’ve put into this book all that is needed to make you a good Scout of that kind. So, go ahead,
read the book, practise all that it teaches you, and I hope you will have half as good a time as I
have had as a Scout.
Chief Scout of the World.
By LORD ROWALLAN
Chief Scout of the British Commonwealth and Empire
To those who are reading this new edition of Scouting for Boys for the first time it may be of interest to
set down what information it has been possible to glean about the way in which the book was composed.
Owing to the kindness of Lady Baden-Powell, B.-P.’s private diaries and letters have been read, and from
these some fresh facts can be given. Another source of information is the portion of the original
manuscript now in the possession of I.H.Q. The story is far from complete, but we now know much more
than was available even twelve months ago.
The manuscript is on many kinds of paper and was evidently written at many times and in many places.
The earliest dated portion, the yarn on “Tracking,” contains one page written on notepaper addressed
“Harwood, Bonchester Bridge, Hawick, N.B.” (Perhaps it should be explained that” N.B.” stands for”
North Britain “ and is an outmoded way of saying “Scotland.”). The date of this is June 18, 1907. B.-P.
had an amusing habit of occasionally using notepaper for his manuscripts ; one page, for instance, is on
Savoy Hotel paper; others are from addresses in Kensington and Newcastle.
The diary shows that actually on that date, June 18th, B.-P. was staying at the Izaak Walton Hotel,
Dovedale, on a fishing holiday. The entry under June 18th is marked with a large red cross and reads,
“Got 6½ brace.” Then for June 19th,
“Wrote S for B most of the day—writing 9 hours.”
The next date is July 15th with the entry “Wimbledon;a letter to his mother from Mill House,
Wimbledon, dated July 16th, contains the following passage,
“It is perfectly delightful here, and I am getting on with my writing very well—being entirely my own
master—and very quiet sitting out in the garden all day.”
Nothing further is given until the diary entry of December 22nd, when B.-P. was at Middleton in
Teesdale; he noted,
“Worked all morning on S for B.”
One point of interest is that one of his letters to his mother (dated December 21, 1907) is on Boy Scout
The next date is December 26th, and the diary reads,
“Went into residence at Mill House” (i.e. Wimbledon).
A letter to his mother dated December 30th contains this passage,
“All goes well here, I am working hard—enjoying frequent walks between whiles in this splendid air.”
Though Scouting for Boys is not mentioned here, we know that he was then writing it because Sir Percy
Everett has told us how he used to visit B.-P. at Wimbledon and discuss the book.
From the diary we learn that he left Mill House on January 6th, 1908, but there is no evidence of how far
at that date the book was completed. Although publication began that month, the whole was not ready, for
under the date February 24th is the note, “Sent in Part V of S for B.” That is the last reference.
The manuscript suggests that Part VI gave him the most trouble; this, however, is a conjecture, since the
surviving manuscript is not complete. There are three drafts for this Part—it was entitled “Notes for
Instructors; it was later called “Principles and Methods.” In two of the drafts much space is given to
developing the theme, “The same causes which brought about the fall of the great Roman Empire are
working to-day in Great Britain.” B.-P. had been deeply impressed by an anonymous pamphlet entitled
“The Decline and Fall of the British Empire. A brief account of those causes which resulted in the
destruction of our late Ally, together with a comparison between the British and Roman Empires.
Appointed for use in the National Schools of Japan, Tokio, 2005.” This was published in 1905. (History
seems to have reversed the roles of Great Britain and Japan !). It was, as the title indicates, an imaginative
account of what might happen if we did not pull up our socks. So greatly was B.-P. impressed that his
first two drafts for the last part of Scouting for Boys were mainly on this theme and hardly touched on
many of the topics he later discussed; and now it has all been condensed to a sentence. The main text of
the book was not radically changed in any of the later editions revised by B.-P., but this last part he
altered considerably from edition to edition.
It is important to realise that every development of Scouting has been produced on the demand of the
boys themselves. B.-P. indeed never intended that Scouting for Boys should be other than an addition to
the training already provided by the Boys’ Brigade, the Y.M.C.A., and other organisations. It was the
boys who got hold of the Book, formed their own Patrols and found their own Scoutmasters. It was
because the sisters would not stay away that the Guides were born; the little brothers made the Wolf
Cubs inevitable, and the unwillingness of those who had outgrown the Scout Troop to sever all
connections with it brought in Rovering.
Once again in recent years the older boys in many places wanted more virile activities than were possible
for the 11 and 12-year-old. Senior Scouts were the only answer. Many of the Courts of Honour had
already banded the older boys into Patrols of their own and the new branch was merely a recognition of
established fact. Scouting provides, if we use it rightly, what the boys want; not what we older people
think they should want.
Scouting for Boys remains the basis for Scouting and the source of inspiration for Scoutmasters. When
Scouting has failed it has been because we have departed from the Patrol System and have failed to trust
the boys with responsibility, because we have made our Scouting too nearly a school subject and not a life
of joyous adventure. Boys, particularly those who have reached adolescence, demand a challenge to their
powers of mind, body and spirit. Scouting can and does provide that challenge if we use it aright. Read
this book, not just once nor even twice, but constantly. Each reading will provide something new. Each
reading will give us just that inspiration which we require to prevent us from becoming stale. We must
recognise that through all the changes in our national life, in our educational system and our ideas of
recreation, B.-P. did “know best.” While minor amendments may be necessary from time to time, the
fundamentals of Scouting which have produced the most universal brotherhood of youth the world has
seen, remain secure as a monument to one of the greatest benefactors to mankind.
1951 Chief Scout.
HINTS TO INSTRUCTORS
Instruction in scouting should be given as far as possible through practices, games, and
Games should be organized mainly as team matches, where the patrol forms the team, and every
boy is playing, none merely looking on.
Strict obedience to the rules to be at all times insisted on as instruction in discipline.
The rules given in the book as to games may be altered by Scout-masters where necessary to suit
The ideas given here are merely offered as suggestions, upon which it is hoped that instructors
will develop further games, competitions, and displays.
Several of the games given here are founded on those in Mr. Thompson Seton’s “Book of
Woodcraft”, called “Spearing the Sturgeon” (Whale Hunt), “Quick Sight” (Spotty Face), “Spot
the Rabbit”, “Bang the Bear”, “Hostile Spy” (Stop Thief), etc.
A number of non-scouting games are quoted from other sources.
The following is a suggestion for the distribution of the work for the first few weeks. It is merely
a Suggestion and in no sense binding.
Remember that the boy on joining, wants to begin “Scouting” right away; so
don’t dull his keenness, as is so often done, by too much preliminary explanation
at first. Meet his wants by games and scouting practices, and instil elementary
details bit by bit afterwards as you go along.
N.B.—The previous paragraph was in the former editions of this book, but it was in some cases
ignored by Scoutmasters, with the result that their training was a failure.
Remember also to start small. Six or eight carefully chosen boys will be enough to begin with,
and after they have received Scout training for a month or two, they will be fit to lead and
instruct fresh recruits as they are admitted.
Address the boys on ‘Scoutcraft”, giving a summary of the whole scheme, as in this chapter, with
demonstrations or lantern slides, etc.
Form Patrols, and give shoulder-knots.
Practical work, outdoors if possible, from the following:— Alternatives according to whether in
town or country, indoors or out.
Parade, break National Flag and salute it.
Scouting game: e.g., “Scout Meets Scout” (see page 47).
Practise salutes, signs, patrol calls, scouts’ chorus, etc.
Practise making scout-signs on ground.
Make ration bags, leather buttons, etc
Self-measurement by each Scout of span, cubit, finger, joint, stride, etc. (see page
Send out scouts independently or in pairs to do a “good turn”, to return and
report how they have done it (page 23).
March out the Patrol to see the neighbourhood.
Make them note direction of starting by ‘compass, wind, and sun (see pages 64-
Notice and question them on details seen, explain “land marks”, etc. (see page
Practise Scout’s pace (see page 63).
Judge distances (see page 106).
Play a Scouting Wide Game (see “Games”, page 181).
Or indoors if wet—”Ju Jitsu”, “Scouts’ War Dance”, Boxing, Scouts’ Chorus
and Rally, etc.
Camp Fire Yarns from this book or from books recommended.
Or rehearse a Scout play, or hold Debate, Kim’s Game, etc.
Patrols to continue practice in these throughout the week in their own time or under the
Scoutmaster, with final games or exercises on the following Saturday afternoon.
If more evenings than one are available in the week one of the subjects might be taken in turn
more fully each evening and rehearsals carried out of a display.
CAMP FIRE YARN NO. 1
Peace Scouts - Kim - Boys of Mafeking
I suppose every boy wants to help his country in some way or other.
There is a way by which he can so do easily, and that is by becoming a Boy Scout.
A scout in the army, as you know, is generally a soldier who is chosen for his cleverness and
pluck to go out in front to find out where the enemy is, and report to the commander all about
But, besides war scouts, there are also peace
scouts—men who in peace time carry out work
which requires the same kind of pluck and
These are the frontiersmen of the world.
The pioneers and trappers of North America, the
colonists of South America, the hunters of Central
Africa, the explorers and missionaries over Asia and
all wild parts of the world, the bushmen and drovers
of Australia, the constabulary of NorthWest Canada
and of South Africa — all these are peace scouts,
real men in every sense of the word, and good at
They understand how to live out in the jungle.
They can find their way anywhere, and are able
to read meanings from the smallest signs and
foot tracks. They know how to look after their
health when far away from doctors. They are
strong and plucky, ready to face danger, and
always keen to help each other. They are
accustomed to take their lives in their hands, and
to risk them without hesitation if they can help
their country by doing so.
They give up everything, their personal comforts
and desires, in order to get their work done.
The life of a frontiersman is a grand life, but to
live it, you must prepare yourself in advance for
difficulties that may arise.
The colonists, hunters, and explorers all over
the world are all scouts. They must know
how to take care of themselves.
They do it because it is their duty.
The life of the frontiersmen is a grand life, but it cannot suddenly be taken up by any man who
thinks he would like it, unless he has prepared himself for it. Those who succeed best are those
who learned Scouting while they were boys.
The life of a frontiersman is a grand life, but to live it, you must prepare yourself in advance for
difficulties that may arise.
Scouting is useful in any kind of life you like to take up. A famous scientist has said that it is
valuable for a man who goes in for science. And a noted physician pointed out how necessary it
is for a doctor or a surgeon to notice small signs as a Scout does, and know their meaning.
So I am going to show you how you can learn scoutcraft for yourself, and how you can put it into
practice at home. It is very easy to learn and very interesting when you get into it.
You can best learn by joining the Boy Scouts.
The Adventures of Kim
A good example of what a Boy Scout can do is found in Rudyard Kipling’s story of Kim.
Kim, or, to give him his full name, Kimball O’Hara, was the son of a sergeant of an Irish
regiment in India. His father and mother died while he was a child, and he was left to the care of
His playmates were all native boys, so he learned to talk their language and to know their ways.
He became great friends with an old wandering priest and travelled with him all over northern
One day he chanced to meet his father’s old regiment on the march, but in visiting the camp he
was arrested on suspicion of being a thief. His birth certificate and other papers were found on
him, and the regiment, seeing that he had belonged to them, took charge of him, and started to
educate him. But whenever he could get away for holidays, Kim dressed himself in Indian
clothes, and went among the natives as one of them.
After a time he became acquainted with a Mr. Lurgan, a dealer in old jewelry and curiosities,
who, owing to his knowledge of natives, was also a member of the Government Intelligence
This man, finding that Kim had such special knowledge of native habits and customs, saw that he
could make a useful agent for Government Intelligence work. He therefore gave Kim lessons at
noticing and remembering small details, which is an important point in the training of a Scout.
Lurgan began by showing Kim a tray full of precious stones of different kinds. He let him look at
it for a minute, then covered it with a cloth, and asked him to state how many stones and what
sorts were there. At first Kim could remember only a few, and could not describe them very
accurately, but with a little practice he soon was able to remember them all quite well. And so,
also, with many other kinds of articles which were shown to him in the same way.
At last, after much other training, Kim was made a member of the Secret Service, and was given
a secret sign—namely, a locket or badge to wear round his neck and a certain sentence, which, if
said in a special way, meant he was one of the Service.
Kim in Secret Service
Once when Kim was travelling in the train he met a native, who was rather badly cut about the
head and arms. He explained to the other passengers that he had fallen from a cart when driving
to the station. But Kim, like a good Scout, noticed that the cuts were sharp, and not grazes such
as you would get by falling from a cart, and so did not believe him.
While the man was tying a bandage over his head, Kim noticed that he was wearing a locket like
his own, so Kim showed him his. Immediately the man brought into the conversation some of his
secret words, and Kim answered with the proper ones in reply. Then the stranger got into a
corner with Kim and explained to him that he was carrying out some Secret Service work, and
had been found out and was hunted by some enemies who had nearly killed him. They probably
knew he was in the train and would therefore telegraph down the line to their friends that he was
coming. He wanted to get his message to a certain police officer without being caught by the
enemy, but he did not know how to do it if they were already warned of his coming. Kim hit
upon the solution.
In India there are a number of holy beggars who travel
about the country. They are considered very holy, and
people always help them with food and money. They wear
next to no clothing, smear themselves with ashes, and paint
certain marks on their faces. So Kim set about disguising
the man as a beggar. He made a mixture of flour and ashes,
which he took from the bowl of a pipe, undressed his friend
and smeared the mixture all over him. He also smeared the
man’s wounds so that they did not show. Finally, with the
aid of a little paint-box which he carried, he painted the
proper face marks on the man’s forehead and brushed his
hair down to look wild and shaggy like that of a beggar,
and covered it with dust, so that the man’s own mother
would not have known him.
Soon afterwards they arrived at a big station. Here, on the platform, they found the police officer
to whom the report was to be made. The imitation beggar pushed up against the officer and got
scolded by him in English. The beggar replied with a string of native abuse into which he mixed
the secret words. The police officer at once realized from the secret words that this beggar was
Kim disguised the man as a beggar,
with a mixture of flour and ashes.
an agent. He pretended to arrest him and marched him off to the police station where he could talk
to him quietly and receive his report.
Later Kim became acquainted with another agent of the Department—an educated native—and
was able to give him great assistance in capturing two officers acting as spies.
These and other adventures of Kim are well worth reading because they illustrate the kind of
valuable work a Boy Scout can do for his country in times of emergency if he is sufficiently
trained and sufficiently intelligent.
Boys of Mafeking
We had an example of how useful boys
can be on active service, when a corps
of boys was formed in the defence of
Mafeking, 1899-1900, during the South
Mafeking, you may know, was a small,
ordinary country town out on the open
plains of South Africa. Nobody ever
thought of it being attacked by an
enemy. It just shows you how, in war,
you must be prepared for what is
possible, not only what is probable.
When we found we were to be attacked at Mafeking, we ordered our garrison to the points they
were to protect—some 700 trained men, police, and volunteers. Then we armed the townsmen,
of whom there were some 300. Some of them were old frontiersmen, and quite equal to the
occasion. But many of them were young shopmen, clerks, and others, who had never handled a
Altogether, then, we only had about a thousand men to defend the place, which was about five
miles round and contained 600 white women and children and about 7,000 natives.
Every man was of value, and as the weeks passed by and many were killed and wounded, the
duties of fighting and keeping watch at night became harder for the rest.
The Mafeking Cadet Corps
It was then that Lord Edward Cecil, the chief staff officer, gathered together the boys of
Mafeking and made them into a cadet corps. He put them in uniform and drilled them. And a
jolly smart and useful lot they were. Previously, we had used a large number of men for carrying
orders and messages, keeping lookout and acting as orderlies, and so on. These duties were now
handed over to the boy cadets, and the men were released to strengthen the firing-line.
Here is a map of South Africa. If you look
carefully, you will find Mafeking and many
other places mentioned in this book.
The cadets, under their sergeant-
major, a boy named Goodyear, did
good work, and well deserved the
medals they got at the end of the
Many of them rode bicycles, and
we were thus able to establish a
post by which people could send
letters to their friends in the
different forts, or about the town,
without going out under fire
themselves. For these letters we
made postage stamps which had on
them a picture of a cadet bicycle
I said to one of these boys on one occasion, when he came in through a rather heavy fire:
“You will get hit one of these days riding about like that when shells are flying.”
“I pedal so quick, sir, they’ll never catch me!” he replied.
These boys didn’t seem to mind the bullets one bit. They were always ready to carry out orders,
though it meant risking their lives every time.
Would You Do It?
Would any of you do that? If an enemy were firing down this street, and you had to take a
message across to a house on the other side, would you do it? I am sure you would—although
probably you wouldn’t much like doing it.
But you want to prepare yourself for such things beforehand. It’s just like taking a header into
cold water. A fellow who is accustomed to diving thinks nothing of it—he has practised it over
and over again. But ask a fellow who has never done it, and he will be afraid.
So, too, with a boy who has been accustomed to obey orders at once, whether there is risk about
it or not. The moment he has to do a thing he does it, no matter how great the danger is to him,
while another chap who has never cared to obey would hesitate, and would then be despised
even by his former friends.
But you need not have a war in order to be useful as a scout. As a peace scout there is lots for
you to do—any day, wherever you may be.
The boys of Mafeking did excellent service. They were gathered
together into a cadet corps, put into uniform and drilled.
CAMP FIRE YARN
WHAT SCOUTS DO
Living in the Open - Woodcraft
Chivalry Saving Life - Endurance
- Love of Country
The following things are what you have to know about to become a good scout:
Living in the Open
Camping is the joyous part of a Scout’s life. Living out in God’s open air, among the hills and
the trees, and the birds and the beasts, and the sea and the rivers—that is, living with nature,
having your own little canvas home, doing your own cooking and exploration—all this brings
health and happiness such as you can never get among the bricks and smoke of the town.
Hiking, too, where you go farther afield, exploring new places every day, is a glorious adventure.
It strengthens you and hardens you so that you won’t mind wind and rain, heat and cold. You
take them all as they come, feeling that sense of fitness that enables you to face any old trouble
with a smile, knowing that you will conquer in the end.
But, of course, to enjoy camping and hiking, you must know how to do it properly.
You have to know how to put up a tent or a hut for yourself; how to lay and light a fire; how to
cook your food; how to tie logs together to make a bridge or a raft; how to find your way by
night, as well as by day, in a strange country, and many other things.
Very few fellows learn these things when they are living in civilized places, because they have
comfortable houses, and soft beds to sleep in. Their food is prepared for them, and when they
want to know the way, they just ask a policeman.
Well, when those fellows try to go scouting or exploring, they find themselves quite helpless.
Take even your sports “hero” and put him down in the wilderness, alongside a fellow trained in
camping, and see which can look after himself. High batting averages are not much good to him
there. He is only a “tenderfoot”.
Woodcraft is the knowledge of animals and nature.
You learn about different kinds of animals by following their tracks and creeping up to them so
that you can watch them in their natural state and study their habits.
The whole sport of hunting animals lies in the woodcraft of stalking them, not in killing them.
No Scout willfully kills an animal for the mere sake of killing but only when in want of food—
unless it is harmful. By continually watching animals in the open, one gets to like them too well
to shoot them.
Woodcraft includes, besides being able to see the tracks and other small signs, the power to read
their meaning, such as at what pace the animal was going, whether he was frightened or
unsuspicious, and so on. It enables the hunter also to find his way in the jungle or desert. It
teaches him which are the best wild fruits and roots for his own food, or which are favourite food
for animals, and, therefore, likely to attract them.
In the same way in inhabited places you read the tracks of men, horses, bicycles, automobiles,
and find out from these what has been going on. You learn to notice, by small signs, such as
birds suddenly starting up, that someone is moving near, though you cannot see him.
By noticing the behaviour or dress of people, and putting this and that together, you can
sometimes see that they are up to no good. Or you can tell when they are in distress and need
help or sympathy—and you can then do what is one of the chief duties of a Scout, namely, help
those in distress in any possible way you can.
Remember that it is a disgrace to a Scout, when he is with other people, if they see anything big
or little, near or far, high or low, that he has not already seen for himself.
In the old days the Knights were
the real Scouts and their rules were
very much like the Scout Law
which we have now.
The Knights considered their
honour their most sacred
They would not do a dishonourable
thing, such as telling a lie or
stealing. They would rather die
than do it. They were always ready
to fight and to be killed in
upholding their king, or their
religion, or their honour.
Just like Saint George of old, the Boy Scouts of today fight
against everything evil and unclean
Each Knight had a small following of a squire and some men-at-arms, just as our Patrol Leader
has his Second (or Assistant) and four or five Scouts.
The Code of the Knights
The Knight’s patrol used to stick to him through thick and thin, and all carried out the same idea
as their leader—namely:
Their honour was sacred.
They were loyal to God, their king, and their country.
They were particularly courteous and polite to all women and children, and weak
They were helpful to everybody.
They gave money and food where it was needed, and saved up their money to do so.
They taught themselves the use of arms in order to protect their religion and their
country against enemies.
They kept themselves strong and healthy and active to be able to do these things well.
You Scouts cannot do better than follow the example of the Knights.
One great point about them was that every day they had
to do a Good Turn to somebody, and that is one of our
When you get up in the morning, remember that you
have to do a Good Turn for someone during the day. Tie
a knot in your handkerchief or neckerchief to remind
yourself of it.
If you should ever find that you had forgotten to do your
daily Good Turn, you must do two the next day.
Remember that by your Scout Promise you are on your
honour to do it. But do not think that Scouts need do
only one Good Turn a day. They must do one, but if
they can do fifty, so much the better.
A Good Turn need only be a very small one. It is a
Good Turn even if it is only putting a coin into a poor-
box, or helping an old woman to cross the street, or making room on a seat for someone, or
giving water to a thirsty horse, or removing a bit of banana skin off the pavement. But one must
be done every day, and it only counts when you do not accept any reward in return.
The man who saves the life of a fellow-being, as he may do in the sudden appalling accidents
which occur in big cities, mines, and factories, in everyday life, is no less a hero than the soldier
who rushes into the thick of the fight to rescue a comrade amid all the excitement of battle.
As a Scout, you are obliged to do at least
one Good Turn every day.
Thousands of Boy Scouts have won medals for life-saving, and I hope that many more will do
It is certain that many of you will, at one time or another, get a chance to save a life. But you
must BE PREPARED for it. You should know what to do the moment an accident occurs— and
do it then and there.
It is not enough to read about it in a book and think that you know what to do. You must actually
practice, and practice often, the things to be done, such as how to cover your mouth and nose
with a wet handkerchief to enable you to breathe in smoke; how to tear a sheet into strips and
make a rope for escaping from a fire; how to open a manhole to let air into a gassy sewer; how to
lift and carry an insensible person; how to save, and revive apparently drowned people, and so
When you have learned all these things you will have confidence in yourself, so that when an
accident happens and everybody is in a state of fluster, not knowing what to do, you can quietly
step out and do the right thing.
To carry out all the duties and work of a scout, a fellow has to be strong, healthy, and active. He
can make himself so if he takes a little care about it.
It means a lot of exercise, like playing games, running, walking, cycling, and so on.
A Scout should sleep much in the open. A boy who is accustomed to sleep with his window shut
may catch cold when he first tries sleeping out. The thing is always to sleep with your windows
open, summer and winter, and you will not catch cold. Personally I cannot sleep with my
window shut or with blinds down, and when I stay in the country I like to sleep outside the
A short go of exercises every morning and evening is a grand thing for keeping you fit—not so
much for making showy muscle as to work all your internal organs, and to work up the
circulation of the blood in every part of you.
Every real Scout takes a daily bath. If he cannot get a bath, he takes a good rub down daily with
a wet rough towel.
Scouts breathe through the nose, not through the mouth. in this way they don’t get thirsty. They
don’t get out of breath so quickly. They don’t breathe all sorts of disease germs that are in the
air, and they don’t snore at night.
Deep breathing exercises are of great value for developing the lungs, and for putting fresh air
(oxygen) into the blood, provided that they are carried out in the open air, and are not overdone.
For deep breathing the breath must be taken in slowly and deeply through the nose, not through
the mouth. till it opens out the ribs to the greatest extent. Then, after a time, it should be slowly
and steadily breathed out again without strain. But the best deep breathing after all is that which
comes naturally from plenty of running exercise.
Love Your Country
My country and your country did not grow of itself out of nothing. It was made by men and
women by dint of hard work and hard fighting, often at the sacrifice of their lives— that is, by
their whole-hearted patriotism.
In all you do, think of your country first. Don’t spend the whole of your time and money merely
to amuse yourself, but think first of how you can be of use to the common good. When you have
done that, you can justly and honestly enjoy yourself in your own way.
Perhaps you don’t see how a mere small boy can be of use to his country. but by becoming a
Scout and carrying out the Scout Law every boy can be of use.
“My country before myself”, should be your aim. Probably, if you ask yourself truly, you will
find you have at present got them
just the other way about. I hope, if
it is so, that you will from this
moment put yourself right and
remain so always. Don’t be
content, like the Romans were, and
some people now are, to pay other
people to play your football or to
fight your battles for you. Do
something yourself to help keep
the Flag flying.
If you take up Scouting in that
spirit, you will be doing something.
Take it up, not merely because it is
good fun, but because by doing so
you will be preparing yourself to
be a good citizen not only of your
country but of the whole world.
Then you will have in you the truest spirit of patriotism, which every boy ought to have if he is
worth his salt.
THE ELSDON MURDER
(The following story, which in the main is true, illustrates generally the duties of a Boy Scout.)
A brutal murder took place many years ago in the North of England. The murderer was caught,
convicted, and hanged chiefly through the scoutcraft of a shepherd boy.
Woodcraft—The boy, Robert Hindmarsh, had been up on the moor tending his sheep, and was
finding his way home over a wild out-of-the-way part of the hills, when he passed a tramp sitting
on the ground with his legs stretched out in front of him eating some food.
Observation—The boy in passing noticed the tramp’s appearance, and especially the peculiar
nails in the soles of his boots.
Scouts learn endurances in the open. Like explorers, they
carry their own burdens and “paddle their own canoes”.
Concealment—He did not stop and
stare, but just took
in these details at a glance as he went
by without attracting much attention
from the man, who merely regarded
him as an ordinary boy.
Deduction—When the boy got near
home, some five or six miles away, he
came to a crowd round a cottage. The
old woman (Margaret Crozier) who
inhabited it had been found murdered.
All sorts of guesses were made about
who had done the deed, and suspicion
seemed to centre on a small gang of
three or four tramps who were going
about the country robbing and threaten-
ing death to anyone who made any
report of their misdeeds.
The boy heard all these things. Then he noticed some peculiar footprints in the little garden of
the cottage. The nail-marks agreed with those he had seen in the boots of the man on the moor,
and he naturally deduced that the man might have something to do with the murder.
Chivalry—The fact that it was a helpless old woman who had been murdered made the boy’s
chivalrous feeling rise against the murderer, whoever he might be.
Pluck and Self-discipline— So, although he knew that the friends of the murderer might kill
him for giving information, he cast his fears aside. He went at once to the constable and told him
of the footmarks in the garden, and where he could find the man who had made them—if he
Health and Strength—The man up on the moor had got so far from the scene of the murder,
unseen, except by the boy, that he thought himself safe, and never thought of the boy being able
to walk all the way to the scene of the murder and then to come back, as he did, with the police.
So he took no precautions.
But the boy was a strong, healthy hill-boy, and did the journey rapidly and well, so that they
found the man and captured him without difficulty.
The man was Willie Winter, a gipsy.
He was tried, found guilty, and hanged at Newcastle. His body was then brought and hung on a
gibbet near the scene of the murder, as was the custom in those days.
Two of the gipsies who were his accomplices were caught with some of the stolen property, and
were also executed at Newcastle.
Kind-heartedness— But when the boy saw the murderer’s body hanging there on the gibbet he
was overcome with misery at having caused the death of a fellow creature.
Robert Hindmarsh, the boy, noticed the appearance of the
tramp, without attracting much attention from the man.
Saving Life—However, the magistrate sent for him and complimented him on the great good he
had done to his fellow countrymen, probably saving some of their lives, by ridding the world of
such a dangerous criminal.
Duty—He said: “You have done your duty, although it caused you personally some danger and
much distress. Still, you must not mind that. It was your duty to help the police in getting justice
done, and duty must always be carried out regardless of how much it costs you, even if you have
to give up your life.”
Example—Thus the boy did every part of the duty of a Boy Scout.
He exercised—Woodcraft; Observations without being noticed; Deduction; Chivalry; Sense of
Duty; Endurance; Kindheartedness.
He little thought that the act which he did entirely of his own accord would years afterwards be
held up as an example to you other boys in teaching you to do your duty.
In the same way, you should remember that your acts may be watched by others after you, and
taken as an example, too.
So try to do your duty the right way on all occasions.
The Scoutmaster shows the boy the way to become a Scout
and helps him on the Scouting trail.
YARN NO. 3
BECOMING A SCOUT
Tenderfoot Test - Scout Law.
Scout Promise. Scout
Sign and Salute. Investiture -
To be a Scout you should join a Scout Patrol or a Scout Troop in your neighbourhood, with the
written permission of your parents.
But before becoming a Scout, you must pass the Tenderfoot Test. This is a simple test just to
show that you are worth your salt and mean to stick to it. The requirements for this are not very
difficult and you will find all you want to know in this book.
When you have satisfied your Scoutmaster, the man in charge of your Troop, that you can do all
the things and do them properly, you will be invested as a Scout and be entitled to wear the
The Scout Law contains the rules which apply to Boy Scouts all the world over, and which you
promise to obey when you are enrolled as a Scout. The Scout Law is on the inside front cover of
this book. Study it carefully so that you understand the meaning of every point.
At your investiture as a Scout you will make the Scout Promise in front of the rest of the Troop.
The Scout Promise you will find on the inside front cover.
This Promise is a very difficult one to keep, but it is a most serious one and no boy is a Scout
unless he does his best to live up to his Promise.
So you see, Scouting is not only fun, but it also requires a lot from you, and I know I can trust
you to do everything you possibly can to keep your Scout Promise.
The Scout Motto is:
which means you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your DUTY.
Be Prepared in Mind by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by
having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the
right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.
Be Prepared in Body by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the
right moment, and do it.
The Scout Badge is the arrowhead which shows the North on a map or on a compass. It is the
Badge of the Scout because it points in the right direction, and upwards. It shows, the way in
doing your duty and helping others. Thethree points of it remind you of the three points of the
This arrowhead has come to be the Badge of the Scouts in almost every country in the world. In
order to distinguish one nationality from the other, the country’s own emblem is often placed on
the front of it. You see this, for instance, in the United States where the eagle and the national
shield of America stand in front, backed by the Badge of the world-wide Scout Brotherhood. The
same is the case in many other countries.
Under the arrowhead is a scroll with the Scout Motto, “Be Prepared”. The scroll is turned up at
the ends like a Scout’s mouth, because he does his duty with a smile and willingly.
Beneath the scroll is a cord with a knot tied in it. This knot is to remind you to do a good turn
daily to someone.
Scout Sign and Salute
The Scout Sign is made by raising your right hand, palm to the front, thumb resting on the nail of
the little finger, and the other fingers upright, pointing upwards. The three fingers remind a Scout
of the three parts of the Scout Promise. The Scout Sign is given at the making of the Promise, or
as a greeting. When the hand held in this way is raised to the forehead, it is the Scout Salute.
The three points of the Scout Badge and the three fingers of the Scout Sign
remind a Scout of the three parts of the Scout Promise.
When to Salute
All wearers of the Scout Badge salute each other once a day. The first to see the other Scout is
the first to salute, irrespective of rank.
Scouts will always salute as a token of respect, at the hoisting of the Flag; at the playing of the
National Anthem; to the uncased National Colours; to Scout Flags, when carried ceremonially;
and to all funerals. On these occasions, if the Scouts are acting under orders, they obey the orders
of the person in charge in regard to saluting or standing to the alert. If a Scout is not acting under
orders he should salute independently. In all cases, leaders if covered should salute.
The hand salute is only used when a Scout is not carrying his staff, and is always made with the
right hand. Saluting when carrying a staff is done by bringing the left arm smartly across the
body in a horizontalposition, the fingers showing the Scout Sign just touching the staff.
When in uniform a Scout salutes whether he is wearing a hat or not, with one exception, namely
at religious services, when all Scouts must stand at the alert, instead of saluting.
The Meaning of the Salute
A man once told me that “he was just as good as anybody else; and he was blowed if he ever
would raise a finger to salute his so-called ‘betters’; he wasn’t going to be a slave and kow-tow
to them, not he!” and so on.
That is a churlish spirit, which is common among fellows who have not been brought up as
I didn’t argue with him, but I might have told him that he had the wrong idea about saluting.
A salute is a sign between men of standing. It is a privilege to be able to salute anyone.
In the old days freemen were all allowed to carry weapons, and when one met another each
would hold up his right hand to show that he had no weapon in it, and that they met as friends.
So also when an armed man met a defenceless person or a lady.
Slaves or serfs were not allowed to carry weapons, and so had to slink past the freemen without
making any sign.
Nowadays people do not carry weapons. But those who would have been entitled to do so, such
as knights, esquires, and men-at-arms, that is, those living on their own property or earning their
own living, still go through the form of saluting each other by holding up their hand to their hat,
or even taking it off. “Wasters” are not entitled to salute, and so should slink by, as they
generally do, without taking notice of the freemen or wage-earners.
To salute merely shows that you are a right sort of fellow and mean well to the others. There is
nothing slavish about it.
A Scout shakes hands with
another Scout with the left hand,
in the Scout Handshake.
If a stranger makes the Scout Sign to you, you should acknowledge it at once by making the Sign
back to him, and then shake hands with the LEFT HAND — theScout Handshake. If hethen
shows his Scout Badge, or proves that he is a Scout, you must treat him as a Brother Scout, and
Investiture of a Scout
Here is a suggested ceremonial for a recruit to be invested as a Scout:
The Troop is formed in horseshoe formation, with Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster in the
The recruit with his Patrol Leader stands just inside the circle, opposite to the Scoutmaster. The
Assistant Scoutmaster holds the staff and hat of the recruit. When ordered to come forward by
the Scoutmaster, the Patrol Leader brings the recruit to the centre. The Scoutmaster then asks:
“Do you know what your honour is?”
The recruit replies: “Yes. It means that I can be trusted to be truthful and honest” (or words to
“Do you know the Scout Law?”
“Can I trust you, on your honour, to do your best to live up to the Scout Promise?”
Recruit then makes the Scout Sign, and so does the whole Troop while he gives the Scout
Scoutmaster: “I trust you, on your honour, to keep this Promise. You are now one of the great
World Brotherhood of Scouts.”
The Assistant Scoutmaster then puts on him his hat and gives him his staff.
The Scoutmaster shakes hands with him with the left hand.
The new Scout faces about and salutes the Troop.
The Troop salutes.
The Scoutmaster gives the word, “To your Patrol, quick march”.
The Troop shoulders staves, and the new Scout and his Patrol Leader march back to their Patrol.
Going on in Scouting
When you have been invested as a Scout you can go on to the next grade, that of Second Class
Scout: For this you will learn the beginnings of many useful subjects. The Badge of the Second
Class Scout is the scroll alone, with the Scout Motto.
No Scout will want to remain Second Class for long and so you will become a First Class Scout
as soon as you can. This will mean hard work tackling signalling, map-reading, hiking, first aid,
and many other things. The First Class Badge consists of the arrowhead and the scroll both.
You can also win Proficiency Badges for your hobbies.
The Scout Uniform is very like the uniform worn by my men when I commanded the South
African Constabulary. They knew what was comfortable, serviceable, and a good protection
against the weather. So Scouts have much the same uniform.
With a few minor alterations the original Scout Uniform has met the ideas of Scouts around the
world and has been universally adopted. Of course, in extreme climates it has to be modified to
suit the seasons, but on the whole the different nations in the temperate climates are dressed
Starting at the top, the broad-brimmed khaki hat is a good protection from sun and rain. It is
kept on by a bootlace tied in a bow in front on the brim and going round the back of the head.
This lace will come in handy in many ways when you camp. The hat has four dents in it.
Then comes the neckerchief or scarf which is folded into a triangle with the point at the back of
the neck. Every Troop has its own scarf colour, and since the honour of your Troop is bound up
in the scarf, you must be very careful to keep it clean and tidy. It is fastened at the throat by a
knot, or a slide or “woggle”, which is some form of ring made of cord, metal, or bone, or
anything you like. The scarf protects your neck from sunburn and serves many purposes, such as
for a bandage or as an emergency rope.
The Scout shirt (or jersey) is a free-and-easy thing, and nothing could be more comfortable
when the sleeves are rolled up. All Scouts have them rolled up because this tends to give them
greater freedom, but also as a sign that they are ready to carry out their Motto. They only roll
them down when it is very cold or when their arms may become sunburnt. In cold weather the
shirt can be supplemented with warmer garments over or, better, under it.
Shorts are essential to hard work and to climbing, to hiking and to camping. They are less
expensive and more hygienic than breeches or trousers. They give freedom and ventilation to the
legs. Another advantage is that when the ground is wet, you can go about without stockings and
none of your clothes gets damp.
The Scout Uniform, used around the world, is very like the uniform worn
by the men of the South African Constabulary.
The stockings are held up by garters, with green tabs showing below the turnover of the stocking
Personally, I consider shoes more suitable than high boots since they give better ventilation to
the feet and therefore diminish the danger of chills and of chaffs which come from damp
stockings softening the feet when tightly laced boots are worn.
Wearing the Uniform
The Scout kit, through its uniformity, now constitutes a bond of brotherhood among boys across
The correct wearing of the Uniform and smartness of turnout of the individual Scout makes him
a credit to our Movement.
It shows his pride in himself and in his Troop.
One slovenly Scout, on the other hand, inaccurately dressed may let down the wholeMovement
in the eyes of thepublic.
Show me such a fellow and I can show you one who has not grasped the true Scouting spirit and
who takes no pride in his membership of our great Brotherhood.
The Scout staff is a useful addition to the kit of the Scout.
Personally, I have found it an invaluable assistant when traversing mountains or boulder-strewn
country and especially in night work in forest or bush. Also, by carving upon it various signs
representing his achievements, the staff gradually becomes a record as well as a treasured
companion to the Scout.
The Scout staff is a strong stick about as high as your nose, marked in feet and inches for
The staff is useful for all sorts of things, such as making a stretcher, keeping back a crowd,
jumping over a ditch, testing the depth of a river, keeping in touch with the rest of your Patrol in
the dark. You can help another Scout over a high wall if you hold your staff horizontally between
your hands and make a step for him; he can then give you a hand from above.
Several staves can be used for building a light bridge, a hut or a flag staff.
There are many other uses for the staff. In fact, you will soon find that if you don’t have your
staff with you, you will always be wanting it.
If you get the chance, cut your own staff. But remember to get permission first.
The Scout staff is useful for a great number of out-door activities.
CAMP FIRE YARN NO. 4
Patrol System - a Patrol Leader - Patrol Signs
Each Scout troop consists of two or more Patrols of six to eight
The main object of the Patrol System is to give real responsibility
to as many boys as possible. It leads each boy to see that he has
some individual responsibility for the good of his Patrol. It leads
each Patrol to see that it has definite responsibility for the good of
the Troop. Through the Patrol System the Scouts learn that they
have considerable say in what their Troop does.
The Patrol Leader
Each Patrol chooses a boy as leader. He is called the Patrol Leader. The Scoutmaster expects a
great deal from the Patrol Leader and leaves him a free hand in carrying out the work in the
Patrol. The Patrol Leader selects another boy to be second in command. This boy is called
Second (or Assistant Patrol Leader). The Patrol Leader is responsible for the efficiency and
smartness of his Patrol. The Scouts in his Patrol obey his orders, not from fear of punishment, as
is often the case in military discipline, but because they are a team playing together and backing
up their leader for the honour and success of the Patrol.
A Word to Patrol Leaders
I want you Patrol Leaders to go on and train your Patrols entirely yourselves, because it is
possible for you to get hold of each boy in your Patrol and make a good fellow of him. It is
no use having one or two brilliant boys and the rest no good at all. You should try to make
them all fairly good.
The most important step to this is your own example, because what you do yourselves,
your Scouts will do also.
Show them that you can obey orders whether they are given by word of mouth or are
printed or written rules, and that you carry them out whether your Scoutmaster is present
or not. Show them that you can earn Badges for Proficiency, and your boys will follow
with very little persuasion. But remember that you must give them the lead and not the
And the Patrol Leader, in training and leading his Patrol, is gaining practice and experience for
being a fellow who can take responsibility.
Also, besides training his Patrol, the Patrol Leader has to lead it, that is, he must be at least as
good as any of his Scouts at the different jobs they have to do. He must never ask a fellow to do
anything he would not do himself. And he must never be “down” on anyone but must get the
enthusiasm and willing work of everyone by cheerily encouraging their efforts.
In every line of life young men are wanted who can be trusted to take responsibility and
leadership. So the Patrol Leader who as made a success with his Patrol has every chance of
making a success of his life when he goes out into the world.
Most of your work in the Patrol consists in playing Scouting games and practices by which you
gain experience as Scouts.
The Court of Honour
The Court of Honour is an important part of the Patrol System. It is a standing committee which
settles the affairs of the Troop. A Court of Honour is formed of the Scoutmaster and the Patrol
Leaders, or, in the case of a small Troop, of the Patrol Leaders and Seconds. In many Courts the
Scoutmaster attends the meetings but does not vote. Patrol Leaders in a Court of Honour have in
many cases carried on the Troop in the absence of the Scoutmaster.
The Court of Honour decides programmes of work, camps, rewards and other questions affecting
Troop management. The members of the Court are pledged to secrecy. Only those decisions
which affect the whole Troop, that is, competitions, appointments, and so on, would be made
Patrol Names and Signs
Each Troop is named after the place to which it belongs. Each Patrol in the Troop is named after
an animal. It is a good plan to choose only animals and birds found in your district. Thus the
33rd London Troop may have five Patrols which are respectively the “Curlews”, the “Bulldogs”,
the “Owls”, the “Bats” and the “Cats
Each Patrol Leader has a small flag on his staff with his Patrol animal shown on it on both sides.
Each Scout in a Patrol has his regular number. The Patrol
Leader is No. 1, the Second No. 2. The other Scouts have the
consecutive numbers after these. Scouts usually work in pairs
as comrades, Nos. 3 and 4 together, Nos. 5 and 6 together, and
Nos. 7 and 8.
Each Patrol chooses its own motto, which generally applies in some way to the Patrol animal.
For instance, the Eagles could take as their guiding words “Soar High”, or the Beavers could say
“Work Hard”, the Hounds “True till Death”, and so on.
This is the Patrol flag of the Wolf
Patrol of the 1st London Troop
Each Scout in the Patrol has to be able to make the call of his Patrol animal—thus every Scout in
the “Bulldogs” must be able to imitate the growl of the bulldog. This is the signal by which
Scouts of a Patrol can communicate with each other when hiding or at night. No Scout is allowed
to use the call of any Patrol except his own. The Patrol Leader calls his Patrol at any time by
sounding his whistle and giving the Patrol call.
[Five pages of patrol animals, signs, calls and colours omitted from this edition]
Woodcraft Trail Signs
Scout trail signs are made on the ground, close to the right-hand side of the road. They should
never be made where they will damage or disfigure private property.
When a Scout makes signs on the ground for others to read he also draws the head of the Patrol
animal. Thus if he wants to show that a certain road should not be followed he draws a Sign
across it that means “Not to be followed”, and adds the head of his Patrol animal to show which
Patrol discovered that the road was no good, and his own number to
show which Scout discovered it, thus:
At night sticks with a wisp of grass round them or stones should be laid
on the road in similar forms so that they can be felt with the hand.
Each Scout should learn the call of his Patrol animal. He should be encouraged to know all he
can about its habits, etc. This can be a first step in nature lore.
Each Scout should know how to make a simple drawing of his Patrol animal. The Scouts should
use this as their Patrol signature.
The special Scout signs should be used out-of-doors. They can be made in the dust, or by using
sticks, and so on. A good tracking game can be arranged by using signs only.
Acting in all forms should be encouraged: Mock trials and impromptu plays are excellent
training and useful for evenings around the camp fire or when you have to be indoors.
Scout Meets Scout
Single Scouts, or pairs of Scouts or complete Patrols, are taken out about two miles apart. They
are then made to move towards each other, either alongside a road, or by giving each side a
landmark to move toward, such as a steep hill or big tree which is directly behind the other party
and will thus ensure their coming together. The Patrol which first sees the other wins. This is
signified by the Patrol Leader holding up his Patrol flag for the umpire to see, and sounding his
whistle. A Patrol need not keep together, but that Patrol wins which first holds up its flag; so it is
well for the Scouts to keep in touch with their Patrol Leaders by signal, voice, or message.
Scouts may employ any ruse they like, such as climbing into trees, hiding in carts, etc., but they
must not dress up in disguise unless specially permitted.
This game may also be practised at night.
A good exercise for a winter’s evening in the meeting room is to hold a debate on any subject of
topical interest, with the Scoutmaster acting as chairman. He will see that there is a speaker
prepared beforehand to introduce and support one view of the subject, and another speaker
prepared to expound another view. After hearing them, he will call on the others present in turn
to express their views. In the end he takes the votes for and against the motion.
At first boys will be very shy of speaking unless the subject selected by the Scoutmaster is one
which really interests them and takes them out of themselves.
After a debate or two they get greater confidence, and are able to express themselves coherently.
They also pick up the proper procedure for public meetings, such as seconding a motion, moving
amendments, obeying chairman’s ruling, voting, according votes of thanks to chair, etc.
In place of a debate a mock trial may be of interest as a change.
For instance, the story of the Elsdon Murder given in Yarn No. 2 might form the subject of a
The Scoutmaster acts as judge, and details boys to the following parts:
Prisoner . . . William Winter.
Witness . . . Boy, Robert Hindmarsh.
Witness . . . Police Constable.
Witness . . . Villager.
Witness . . . Old woman (friend of the murdered woman).
Counsel for Prisoner.
Counsel for Prosecution.
Foreman and Jury (if there are enough Scouts).
Follow as nearly as possible the procedure of a court of law. Let each make up his own evidence,
speeches, or cross-examination according to his own notions and imagination, along the lines of
the story, but in greater detail. Do not necessarily find the prisoner guilty unless the prosecution
proves its case to the jury.
In summing up, the Scoutmaster may bring out the fact that the boy, Hindmarsh, carried out each
part of the duty of a Scout, in order to bring home the lesson to the boys.
The plot of a short, simple play is given, and
each player is assigned his part, with an outline
of what he has to do and say. The Scouts act is,
making up the required conversation as they go
This develops the power of imagination and
Play acting is good fun. It doesn’t matter what
kind of voice you have so long as you get out
your words clearly and distinctly.
HINTS TO INSTRUCTORS
In all games and competitions it should be arranged, as far as possible, that all the scouts should
take part, because we do not want to have merely one or two brilliant performers and the others
no use at all. All ought to get practice, and all ought to be pretty good. In competitions where
there are enough entries to make heats, ties should be run off by losers instead of the usual
system of by winners, and the game should be to find out which are the worst instead of which
are the best. Good men will strive just as hard not to be worst as they would to gain a prize, and
this form of competition gives the bad man most practice.
Scout War Songs
The Scout’s Chorus. This is a chant that the African Zulus used to sing to their Chief. It may be
shouted on the march, or used as applause at games and meetings and camp fires. It must be sung
exactly in time.
Chorus: Invooboo. Ya-Boh! Ya-Boh! Invooboo! The meaning Is—
Leader: “He is a lion!”
Chorus: “Yes! he is better than that; he is a hippopotamus!”
The Scouts Rally. To be shouted as a salute, or in a game, or at any other appropriate time.
Leader: Be Prepared!
Chorus: Zing-a-Zing! Bom! Bom!
(Stamp or bang something at the “Bom! Bom!”)
The Scout’s Call. For Scout to whistle to attract attention of another Scout,
Scout’s War Dance
Scouts form up in one line with leader in front, each holding his staff in the right hand, and his
left on the next man’s shoulder.
Leader sings the Eengonyama song. Scouts sing chorus, and advance a few steps at a time,
stamping in unison on the long notes.
At the second time of singing they step backwards.
At the third, they turn to the left, still holding each other’s shoulders, and move round in a large
circle, repeating the chorus until they have completed the circle.
They then form into a wide circle, into the centre of which one steps forward and carries out a
war dance, representing how he tracked and fought with one of his enemies. He goes through the
whole fight in dumb show, until he finally kills his
foe. The Scouts meantime sing the Eengonyama
chorus and dance on their own ground. As soon as
he finishes the fight, the leader starts the “Be
Prepared” chorus, which they repeat three times in
honour of the Scout who has just danced.
Then they recommence the Eengonyama chorus, and
another Scout steps into the ring, and describes in
dumb show how he stalked and killed a wild buffalo.
While he does the creeping up and stalking of the
animal, the Scouts all crouch and sing their chorus
very softly, and as he gets close to the beast, they
simultaneously spring up and dance and shout the
chorus loudly. When he has slain the beast, the
leader again gives the “Be Prepared” chorus in his
honour, which is repeated three times, the Scouts
banging their staffs on the ground at the same time
as they stamp “Bom! bom!” At the end of the third
repetition, “Bom! bom!” is given twice.
The circle then closes together, the Scouts turn to
their left again, grasping shoulders with the left
hand, and move off, singing the Eengonyama chorus, or, if it not desired to move away, they
break up after the final “Bom! bom!”
The Eengonyama song should be sung in a spirited way, and not droned out dismally like a
NOTE TO INSTRUCTORS
Although the war dance and songs may seem at first sight to be gibberish—especially to those
who have never had much to do with boys—yet there is a certain value underlying them as a
corrective of self-consciousness.
If you want, for instance, to get discipline among your lads it means their constantly bottling up
some energy that requires an occasional vent or safety-valve. A war dance supplies such vent,
but still in a certain disciplined way.
Also it forms an attraction to wilder spirits who would never join a band of quieter boys.
Mr. Tomlin, “the hooligan tamer”, catches and gets his lads in hand entirely by the force of
energetic singing and action in chorus.
Most schools and colleges have their “Ra-ra-ra” choruses, of which “Zing-a-zing: bom, bom” is
The war dance of the young men of the
Kikuyu tribe in Africa provided the
inspiration for the Scout’s “war dance”.
FOR WINTER IN NORTHERN COUNTRIES
Each Patrol makes a toboggan with ropes and harness, for two of their number to pull (or for
dogs if they have them, and can train them to the work). Two Scouts go a mile or so ahead; the
remainder with the toboggan follow, finding the way by means of the spoor, and by such signs as
the leading Scout may draw in the snow. All other signs seen on the way are to be examined,
noted, and their meaning read. The toboggan carries rations and cooking pots, and other supplies.
Build snow huts. These must be made narrow, according to the length of branches available for
forming the roof, which can be made with brushwood, and covered with snow.
The snow fort may be built by one Patrol according to the boys’ own ideas of fortification, with
loopholes for looking out. When finished it will be attacked by hostile Patrols, using snowballs
as ammunition. Every Scout struck by a snow ball is counted dead. The attackers should, as a
rule, number at least twice the strength of the defenders.
Siberian Man Hunt
One Scout as fugitive runs away across the snow in any direction he may please until he finds a
good hiding-place, and there conceals himself. The remainder, after giving him twenty minutes’
start or more, proceed to follow him by his tracks. As they approach his hiding-place, he shoots
at them with snowballs, and everyone who is struck must fall out dead. The fugitive must be
struck three times before he is counted dead.
Scouts can be very useful in snowy weather by working as a Patrol under their leader in clearing
away the snow from pavements, houses, etc. And in fog by acting as guides. This they may
either do as a Good Turn, or accept money to be devoted to their funds.
YARN NO. 5
LIFE IN THE OPEN
Exploration - Mountaineering - Patrolling - Night Work
Finding the Way - Finding the North - Weather Wisdom
IN SOUTH AFRICA the finest of the tribes were the Zulus. Every man was a good warrior and a
good scout, because he had learned scouting as a boy.
When a boy was old enough to become a warrior, he was stripped of his clothing and painted
white all over. He was given a shield with which to protect himself and an assegai or small spear
for killing animals or enemies. He was then turned loose in the “bush”.
If anyone saw him while he was still white he would hunt him and kill him. And that white paint
took about a month to wear off—it would not wash off.
So for a month the boy had to hide away in the jungle, and live the best he could.
He had to follow up the tracks of deer and creep up near enough to spear the animal in order to
get food and clothing for himself. He had to make fire to cook his food, by rubbing two sticks
together. He had to be careful not to let his fire smoke too much, or it would catch the eye of
scouts on the lookout to hunt him.
He had to be able to run long distances, to climb trees, and to swim rivers in order to escape from
his pursuers. He had to be brave, and stand up to a lion or any other wild animal that attacked
He had to know which plants were good to eat and which were poisonous. He had to build
himself a hut to live in, well hidden.
He had to take care that wherever he went he
left no foot tracks by which he could be
For a month he had to live this life, sometimes
in burning heat, sometimes in cold and rain.
When at last the white stain had worn off, he
was permitted to return to his village. He was
then received with great joy, and was allowed
to take his place among the young warriors of
the tribe. He had proved that he was able to
look after himself.
In South America the boys of the Yaghan
tribe—down in the cold, rainy regions of
Patagonia—also undergo a test of pluck
before they are allowed to consider
themselves men. For this test the boy must
drive a spear deep into his thigh and smile all
the time in spite of the pain.
It is a cruel test, but it shows that these
savages understand how necessary it is that boys should be trained to manliness and not be
allowed to drift into being poor-spirited wasters who can only look on at men’s work.
The ancient British boys received similar training
before they were considered men.
If every boy works hard at Scouting he will, at the
end of it, have some claim to call himself a Scout
and a man, and will find that he will have no
difficulty in looking after himself.
Training for the Backwoods
An old Canadian scout and trapper, over eighty
years of age, Bill Hamilton, once wrote a book
called My Sixty Years in the Plains describing the
dangers of the adventurous life of the early pioneer:
“I have often been asked,” Hamilton wrote, “why
we exposed ourselves to such dangers? My answer
has always been that there was a charm in the open-
air life of a scout from which one cannot free himself after he has once come under its spell.
Give me the man who has been raised among the great things of nature. He cultivates truth,
independence, and self-reliance. He has generous impulses. He is true to his friends, and true to
the flag of his country.”
From boy to man among the Zulus we have the Urn-
Fan (mat boy), the young warrior, and the Ring-Kop
The Cub looks up to the Boy Scout, and the Boy
Scout looks up to the Old Scout or pioneer.
I can fully endorse what this old scout has said, and, what is more, I find that those men who
come from the farthest frontiers—from what we should call a rude and savage life—are among
the most generous and chivalrous of their race, especially toward women and weaker folk. They
become “gentle men” by their contact with nature.
“Play Hard—Work Hard”
Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States of America (1901-1909), also believed in
outdoor life. When returning from his hunting trip in East Africa he inspected some Boy Scouts
in London, and expressed great admiration for them. He wrote:— “I believe in outdoor games,
and I do not mind in the least that they are rough games, or that those who take part in them are
occasionally injured. I have no sympathy with the overwrought sentiment which would keep a
young man in cotton-wool. The out-of-doors man must always prove the better in life’s contest.
When you play, play hard; and when you work, work hard. But do not let your play and your
sport interfere with your study.”
I knew an old colonist who, after the South African War, said that he could not live in the
country with the British, because when they arrived in the country they were so “stom”, as he
called it—that is, so utterly stupid when living on the veldt (the plains of South Africa) that they
did not now how to look after themselves, to make themselves comfortable in camp, to kill their
food or to cook it, and they were always losing their way in the bush. He admitted that after six
months or so many of them learned to manage for themselves fairly well if they lived so long,
but many of them died.
Learn to Look after Yourself
The truth is that men brought up in a civilized country have no training whatever in looking after
themselves out on the veldt or plains, or in the backwoods. The consequence is that when they go
into wild country they are for a long time perfectly helpless, and go through a lot of hardship and
trouble which would not occur if they learned, while boys, to look after themselves in camp.
They are just a lot of “tenderfoots”.
They have never had to light a fire or to cook their own food—that has always been done for
them. At home when they wanted water, they merely had to turn on the tap—therefore they had
no idea of how to set about finding water in a desert place by looking at the grass, or bush, or by
scratching at the sand till they found signs of dampness. If they lost their way, or did not know
the time, they merely had to ask somebody else. They had always had houses to shelter them,
and beds to lie in. They had never had to make them for themselves, nor to make or repair their
own boots or clothing.
That is why a “tenderfoot” often has a tough time in camp. But living in camp for a Scout who
knows the game is a simple matter. He knows how to make himself comfortable in a thousand
small ways, and then, when he does come back to civilization, he enjoys it all the more for
having seen the contrast.
And even there, in the city, he can do very
much more for himself than the ordinary
mortal, who has never really learned to
provide for his own wants. The man who has
to turn his hand to many things, as the Scout
does in camp, finds that when he comes into
civilization he is more easily able to obtain
employment, because he is ready for
whatever kind of work may turn up.
A good form of Scout work can be done by
Scouts going about either as Patrols on an
exploring expedition, or in pairs like knight-
errants of old on a pilgrimage through the
country to find people who need help, and
then to help them. This can be done equally
well on bicycles as on foot.
Scouts in carrying out such a tramp should
never, if possible, sleep under a roof. On fine
nights they should sleep in the open wherever they may be. In bad weather, they would get
permission to occupy a hay loft or barn.
You should on all occasions take a map with you, and find your way by it without having to ask
the way of passers-by.
Reading a Map
Topographic maps and one-inch ordnance survey maps are good maps for exploring. “One-inch”
means that one inch on the map represents one mile in the terrain.
On these maps, woods, rivers, lakes, roads, buildings, and so on, are indicated with conventional
signs. Hills are usually shown by contour lines. A contour line is a line that connects all the
points that have the same height. A line marked “200”, for example, goes through the points that
are 200 feet above sea level. Sometimes a hill is indicated by “hachures”—fine lines that spread
out from the top of the hill like rays from the sun.
To use a map, you must “set” it, that is, arrange it so that the directions on it fit the directions of
the country where you are. The simplest way is to turn the map so that a road on it runs parallel
with the actual road. You can also use a compass. The top of a map is usually north—you
therefore turn the map so that the top of it is where the compass shows north. If there is a
magnetic north line on your map, turn the map so that this line fits with north of your compass.
You should notice everything as you travel the roads and remember as much of your journey as
possible, so that you could give directions to anybody else who wanted to follow that road
The trained backwoodsman knows the ways of the woods.
He can make himself comfortable in a thousand small ways.
Also make a sketch-map. This does not need to be elaborate, as long as someone else can find his
way by it. Be certain to include the north line and a rough scale.
Explorers, of course, keep a log or journal, giving a short account of each day’s journey, with
simple drawings or photos of interesting things they see.
A clever Scout made these sketches for his exploring log or journal
The Object of Your Expedition
As a rule you should have some object in your expedition: That is to say, if you are a Patrol of
town boys, you would go off with the idea of scouting some special spot, say a mountain, or a
famous lake, or possibly some old castle or battlefield, or a seaside beach. Or you may be on
your way to join one of the larger camps.
If, on the other hand, you are a Patrol from the country, you can make your way up to a big town,
with the idea of seeing its buildings, its zoological gardens, circuses, museums, etc.
You would, of course, have to do your daily good turn whenever opportunity presented itself, but
besides that, you should do good turns to farmers and others who may allow you the use of their
barns and land, as a return for their kindness.
Mountaineering is grand sport in many parts of the world. Finding your way and making yourself
comfortable in the mountains bring into practice all your Scoutcraft.
In mountain climbing you are continually
changing your direction, because, moving up and
down in the deep gullies of the mountainside, you
lose sight of the landmarks which usually guide
you. You have to watch your direction by the sun
and by your compass, and keep on estimating in
what direction your proper line of travel lies.
Then again you are very liable to be caught in fogs
and mists, which upset the calculations even of
men who know every inch of the country.
Lost in the Mountains
I had such an experience in Scotland one year,
when, in company with a Highlander who knew
the ground, I got lost in the mist. Supposing that
he knew the way, I committed myself entirely to his
guidance. But after going some distance I felt bound
to remark to him that I noticed the wind had suddenly changed. It had been blowing from our left
when we started, and was now blowing hard on our right cheek. However, he seemed in no way
disturbed and led on. Presently I remarked that the wind was blowing behind us, so that either
the wind, or the mountain, or we ourselves were turning round.
On steep hill sides the Scout staff will often
come in handy for balancing yourself.
Eventually it proved, as I expected, that it was not the wind that had turned, nor the mountain. It
was ourselves who had wandered round in a complete circle. We were back almost at the point
we started from.
Using Climbing Ropes
Scouts working on a mountain ought to practise the art of roping themselves together, as
mountaineers do on icy slopes.
When roped together each man has about fourteen feet between himself and the next man. The
rope is fastened round his waist, by a loop, with the knot on his left side. A loop takes up about 4
ft. 6 in. of rope, and should be a bowline at the ends of the rope, and a manharness knot for
central men on the rope.
Each man has to keep well back of the man in front of him, so that the rope is tight all the time.
Then if one falls or slips, the others lean away from him with all their weight, and hold him up
till he regains his footing.
Scouts go about Scouting as a Patrol or in pairs, or sometimes singly.
When patrolling, the Scouts of a Patrol seldom move close together. They spread out to see more
country. Also, in this way, they will not all get caught if cut off or ambushed by the “enemy”.
A Patrol of six Scouts best moves in the shape of a kite with the Patrol Leader in the centre. No.
2 Scout is in front, Nos. 5 and 4 to the right and left, No. 3 to the rear, and No. 6 with the leader
(No. 1) in the centre.
If there are eight in the Patrol, the Patrol Leader takes the Tenderfoot with him, No. 2 takes No.
6, and No. 3 takes No. 7.
Patrols going over open country where they are likely to be seen by enemies or animals should
get across it as quickly as possible, by moving at Scout’s Pace, walking and running alternately
for short spells of fifty paces from one point of cover to another. As soon as they are hidden in
cover they can rest and look round before making the next move.
If you are the leading Scout and get out of sight ahead of your Patrol, you can bend branches of
bushes or of reeds and grass every few yards, making the heads point forward to show your path.
In this way the Patrol or anyone coming after you can easily follow and can judge from the
freshness of the grass pretty well how long ago you passed. Besides, you can always find your
way back again. Or you can make marks in the sand, or lay stones, or show which way you have
gone by the signs which I have given you in Yarn No. 4.
Scouts must be able to find their way equally well by night or by day. But unless they practise it
frequently, they are very apt to lose themselves by night. Distances seem greater and landmarks
are hard to see. Also you are apt to make more noise than by day, by accidentally treading on dry
sticks or kicking stones.
If you are watching for an enemy at night, you have to trust much more to your ears than to your
eyes. Your nose will also help you, for a Scout is well-practised at smelling out things. A man
who has not damaged his sense of smell by smoking can often smell an enemy a good distance
away. I have done it many times myself.
When patrolling at night, Scouts keep closer together than by day, and in very dark places, such
as woods, they keep touch with each other in single file by each catching hold of the end of the
next Scout’s staff.
When working singly in the dark, the Scout staff is most useful for feeling the way and pushing
Scouts working apart from each other at night keep up communication by occasionally giving the
call of their Patrol animal.
All Scouts should know how to guide themselves by the stars.
Finding the Way
Among the Red Indian scouts, the man who was good at finding his way in a strange country
was termed a “pathfinder”. It was a great honour to be called by that name.
Many a “tenderfoot” has become lost in the veldt or forest, and has never been seen again,
because he knew no scouting, nor had what is called “eye for the country”.
In one case a man got off a coach, which was driving through Matabeleland, while the mules
were being changed, and walked off a few yards into the bush. When the coach was ready to start
the drivers called for him in every direction, then searched for him. They followed the man’s
tracks as far as they could, in the very difficult soil of that country, but could not find him. At
last, the coach, unable to wait any longer, continued its journey, after someone else had taken
over the search.
Several weeks afterwards, the man was discovered, dead, nearly fifteen miles from where he had
left the coach.
Don’t Get Lost
It often happens that when you are tramping alone through the bush, you become careless in
noticing in what direction you are moving. You frequently change direction to get round a fallen
tree, or over a rock or other obstacle and, having passed it, do not take up exactly the correct
direction again. A man’s inclination somehow is to keep edging to his right, and the consequence
is that when you think you are going straight, you are really not doing so at all. Unless you watch
the sun, or your compass, or your landmarks, you are very apt to find yourself going round in a
In such a case a “tenderfoot”, when he suddenly finds he has lost his bearings, at once loses his
head and gets excited. He probably begins to run, when the right thing to do is to force yourself
to keep cool and give yourself something useful to do
—that is, to track your own footprints back again; or, if you fail in this, to collect firewood for
making signal fires to direct those who will be looking for you.
The main point is not to get lost in the first instance.
Notice the Directions
When you start out for a walk or on patrolling, note the direction, by the compass. Also notice
which direction the wind is blowing; this is a great help, especially if you have no compass, or if
the sun is not shining.
Every old scout notices which way the wind is blowing when he turns out in the morning.
To find the way the wind is blowing when there is only very light air, throw up little bits of dry
grass. Or hold up a handful of light dust and let it fall. Or wet your thumb and let the wind blow
on it; the cold side of it will then tell you from which direction the wind comes.
Then you should notice all important landmarks for finding your way.
In the country the landmarks may be hills or prominent towers, steeples, curious trees, rocks,
gates, mounds, bridges— any points, in fact, by which you could find your way back again, or by
which you could instruct someone else to follow the same route. If you remember your
landmarks going out you can always find your way back by them; but you should take care
occasionally to look back at them after passing them, so that you can recognize them for your
The same holds good when you arrive in a strange town by train. The moment you step out from
the station notice where the sun is, or which way the smoke is blowing. Also notice your
landmarks—which is this case would be prominent buildings, churches, factory chimneys, names
of streets and shops—so that when you have gone down several streets you can turn round an d
find your way back to the station without difficulty. It is wonderfully easy when you have
practised it a little, yet many people get lost when they have turned a few corners in a town they
do not know.
Concentrate on Your Job
When you are acting as scout or guide for a party, move ahead of it and fix your whole attention
and all your thoughts on what you are doing. You have to go by the very smallest signs, and if
you talk and think of other things you are very apt to miss them. Old scouts generally are very
silent people, from this habit of fixing their attention on the work in hand.
Very often a “tenderfoot” out for the first time will think that the leading scout looks lonely and
will go up to walk or ride alongside of him and begin a conversation—until the scout shows by
his manner or otherwise that he does not want the ‘‘tenderfoot” there.